August 13, 2020


Lift as You Climb: The Story of Ella Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell and R. Gregory Christie tells the story of civil rights activist Ella Baker and her lifelong fight against racial injustice. 
Even before the civil rights movement in the 1950s and '60s, Ella Baker's mother's words "lift as you climb" resonated with her. Ella grew up hearing stories about her home, a farm that was built on the backs of her enslaved grandparents who worked tirelessly to afford it after they were emancipated. Ella understood from an early age that a rising tide lifts all boats, and her contributions over the course of her life generally focused on empowering other Black people to fight for their rights, working with grassroots campaigns and registering voters that would shape the future.

Christie's gouache illustrations are full-bleed so they extend beyond the boundaries of the page, making each visually-featured moment of Ella Baker's story feel larger than life. Christie makes sure to preserve all textures from brush strokes and color mixtures so that readers see every wrinkle, hair, and blade of grass that went into the book, not unlike how the book itself takes the time (and extra pages) to detail the important moments and actions Ella's life's work. Each spread highlights at least one color as the main background hue, and with all of the choices being so colorful (yellow, pink, light blue, etc.), there's a sense of accessibility to Ella's story that inspires action after the book is closed.
Lift as You Climb: The Story of Ella Baker published earlier this summer from Margaret K. McElderry Books. 

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